What You Focus On Expands

Posted by Duane Cummings on 11/05/2019

Real Talk Time…How often do you, or someone you care about end up in a “negative spiral?” 

You know what I mean, those moments when you start thinking about a problem and in the blink of an eye you’ve been swallowed whole, only to be crapped out empty and exhausted with no hope in sight. Sound familiar? Me neither…I was just asking. 

The truth is, it’s a very common occurrence. Fortunately, there is a way to beat the “negative spiral” and it has to do with what you focus on. Yes, I’m aware there could be additional contributing factors such as diet, hormones, and other chemical imbalances, but for this tip, I’m concentrating my help on how you use your mind.

For years, I’ve shared this simple little tip with players, staff, clients, team members, friends, family and even strangers in an effort to help improve lives. Hopefully, it will serve you well.

Now, let’s be clear. I’m not saying you should ever ignore problems or challenges and simply look for rainbows and unicorns. On the contrary, I want you to acknowledge that ugly, painful, and often debilitating problem and then attack it head on! Begin by identifying, clarifying, examining it thoroughly and then when you’ve got it in your crosshairs – LET IT GO! 

Instead, I want you to immediately shift your focus to uncovering all of the possible solutions for that problem or challenge. And, as you do that, PLEASE don’t self-edit. Just explore. In addition, don’t worry about rationalizing the possibilities at this point. I’ve found that if you make a long enough list, you’ll almost always find at least one viable solution.

In order to keep it simple and easy to manage, here’s the ratio I want you to follow. Focus 5% of your time on the problem and 95% on the potential solutions. You should ONLY shift your focus back to the problem when you are ready to address it with a potential solution.

Want to give it a try? Let's say we are going to set aside an hour and attack the biggest problem in your life right now. Set your alarm for 3 minutes and focus solely on the problem. Make sure you have clarity and be honest with yourself. Then set your alarm for 57 minutes and only focus on possible solutions. Remember, don’t limit yourself, just go crazy with possibilities. (But, keep them legal, so we both stay out of trouble.) More often than not, you’ll know what the right solution is…then it will be about whether you summon the courage to follow through and apply it.

My Grandma use to say, “Always give your energy to solutions, not problems.”

Focusing on problems usually brings about a “fight or flight” response in our bodies. We shut down, stop being creative, our immune system stops working efficiently, which keeps us in that “negative spiral.” This can also happen when we land on a solution that’s going to be tough to implement. The good news is, this is an opportunity to be the captain of your own ship. Be proactive and use your mind as a tool to see you through this instead of letting it be a liability.

Harnessing your strength and focusing your attention on the possible solutions allows you to control the only thing in life that you can control…YOU!

Let me know if you give it a try and how it works for you...and keep in mind, you’re not alone! I'm just a DM away.

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Duane Cummings